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Corporate wellness…Need for Employers to Change the Approach to Employees Well-being

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Corporate well-being is increasingly entrenched in workplace cultures and strategies. A happier and healthier workforce enables higher productivity and job satisfaction. Employers are actively seeking new ways to reduce health care costs without jeopardizing their ability to attract and retain workers. These factors have prompted many organizations to actively promote health and wellness at the work site. Healthier workplaces can also help to attract desirable talent into the stable and encourage employees to stay for the longer term.

These programs not only directly benefit the workforce on the payroll, they also make corporations appealing to shareholders. The opposite is just as true – companies that neglect their employees are likely to bear the consequences publicly, with prominent examples facing immense pressure from shareholders and having to restructure C-level management.

Firms today should no longer wonder if corporate wellness is necessary, but instead ask how they can do better.

 

Increasing demand for and investment in well-being support

With the increased uptake of corporate well-being programs, both employers and staff are less cynical or skeptical about broader wellness concepts beyond physical health concerns, such as mental health issues resulting from work, and balancing job security with personal commitments. This trend has led to a growing demand for both health and wellness support from employers.

Corporations with well-being initiatives are also moving their budgets towards personalizing these benefits. To budget effectively, studying the results of current programs would point out the best health outcomes for staff. It’s no longer unusual to see unique coverage for employees working in specific departments to boost productivity and profitability.

 

Diversification of corporate wellness support

There’s also a transitioning from the conventional understanding of wellness – eating right, exercising more – towards integrating these components into a broader umbrella of holistic health. More employers regard emotional and mental health as a necessary part of corporate well-being. Health insurance companies are also increasingly providing program add-ons that support holistic health from a mental, physical, and spiritual perspective.

 

More holistic measures of effectiveness

From an organizational perspective, employers want to lower employee turnover and improve performance. Two key data points help to gauge the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs. Are we collecting the right data to show whether people are happier, healthier and more productive? And, are we getting the right people on to the right programs?

The first component requires an analysis of an individual’s needs, and involves defining personalized care at the right time. The second element measures their achievements against overall health goals, observing levels of productivity and absenteeism.

Considered in totality, these measures can help employees feel more secure about their personal wellness even as they throw themselves into their work.

 

Personalization of wellness in workplaces

Currently, corporate wellness programs are mostly personalized to the level of specific groups rather than individuals. This means individuals are enrolled in wellness programs with like-minded others and those with similar well-being issues.

However, with more data from existing programs, individuals progress towards building solutions with increasingly bespoke aspects.

 

Potential challenges as corporate wellness evolves

As an evolving concept, one new challenge would be proving the success of every personalized program. The outcomes from these tools are long-term or life-long, making it difficult to quantify specific successes from a health and health care standpoint. Companies want to know: ‘Is this wellness program actually reducing my costs?’

While it is possible to measure engagement, satisfaction, even stress and blood pressure reduction, companies are seeking to find new methods to directly tie bespoke corporate well-being to claim cost avoidance.

As we continue to explore these solutions to corporate wellness, we should be able to see a more defined measurement in the next five years.

 

Organizational Benefits of Employee Health Education

Wellness Programs Improve Employee Health Behaviors

The core of every good wellness program is behavior change. With the right education, skills, motivation, skills/tools, and social support, people change behaviors.  Wellness programs are good at helping people adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.  This is perhaps the biggest benefit of having a wellness program.

Healthy behaviors lead to lower health risks, and lower health risks lead to less chronic disease.  With less chronic disease employees have fewer health care costs.  This is how it looks:

Decreased healthcare costs

If you’re at a workplace that promotes exercise and taking care of your health for hours a day, your whole well-being will benefit. This in turn makes you less likely to get sick and injured, saving you money in the long run. More studies confirm that workplace wellness programs reduce healthcare costs. Less doctor visits, less pills to take, less medicine. So keep the heart disease at bay by participating in your work wellness program!

Comprehensive worksite wellness programs that improve employee behaviors will see a bending of the healthcare cost trend. Most often it will be discovered that the savings from program participation will be greater than the actual cost of the program. Almost every one of these return on investment (ROI) studies show a positive return on investment.

 

 

Reduced absenteeism

Worksites with comprehensive wellness programs can experience reduced absenteeism for a variety of reasons. Any wellness program that can reduce absenteeism will experience cost savings. Wellness programs have the ability to improve employee’s health and this can have an impact on whether or not individuals are absent from work. But there is another reason why wellness programs can have such a large impact on absenteeism. Employees who have high morale are significantly less likely to be absent from work.

 

Increased productivity

Poor employee productivity can be defined as physically being at work but not working. This type of poor productivity is called presenteeism. It is estimated that the cost associated with presenteeism due to poor employee health is at least 2 to 3 times greater than direct health care expenses. While the estimated cost of presenteeism dwarfs the cost of health care, it does not receive the same level of scrutiny among employers preoccupied with controlling the direct costs of poor employee health.

There are a lot of reasons why employees have low productivity. They may not know how to use the equipment, they may be distracted by other employees, they may not know what they are doing, they may be tired, or they might be on Facebook. One of the main causes of presenteeism is poor health.

Note: Unhealthy individual lifestyle choices may result in substantially higher levels of lost productive work time. Wellness programs that focus on helping employees that have good health behaviors will eventually have an impact on productivity.

 

Increased employee morale

Employees who are obviously healthier are more importantly happier. This is a reason that doesn’t need scientific research to back up. We are probably never going to have a good study that can evaluate that reasoning. There is, however, experience with hundreds of people who have shared such stories.

When employers offer their employees a wellness program they are simply telling them that they respect them, trust them, and want to help them be successful in life. Employees have high employee morale when they are allowed to be creative, solve problems, feel safe and appreciated, develop self-esteem, and achieve personal goals and aspirations. Employees are happy when they have a sense of control over their lives and their health.

This is one of the most powerful reasons to have a wellness program. Realistically, employees don’t care about the healthcare cost problem, they only care about their own happiness. Employees don’t share employers concern about productivity or absenteeism. They care about having a fulfilling, enjoyable job.

Therefore, this wellness program helps employees achieve all of their needs, both physical, social, and emotional. When it is all said and done, employees want to feel loved and appreciated, and when they do, really good things happen at work: Productivity goes up, customer service is outstanding, problems get solved, and people get creative. They like coming to work, they appreciate their employer, they work better with others, and they have high employee morale.

 

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Health

Giving Priority to Sleep: The Right Dose to a Healthy life

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A clear conscience and a grateful mind are the pillows to sleep on.

After a long stressful day at work, all one desire is to get home, freshen up and sleep. One finally hits the sheet and sleep is nowhere to be found; too exhausted to sleep or just thinking a little too much? Maybe a “Dear Mind, please stop thinking so much at night, I need to sleep” letter will do. The battle is indeed real! We spend the whole day working and trying so hard to stay awake but when it’s time to hit the sheet, true rest is elusive.

When one doesn’t have a good night sleep, the entire day or even week can be thrown off. Everything will just feel frustrating, and cranky. Some people are able to fall asleep when they are extremely exhausted while others need to in fact feel sleepy in order to sleep. “There’s actually a big difference between being exhausted and being sleepy”, according Roth on WebMD.

Some people lose touch with what it feels like to be sleepy. Sleepiness or drowsiness is the extreme desire to fall asleep. The longer one tries to stay awake when feeling sleepy, the heavier the feeling to sleep. This is because of a build-up of a chemical in the brain called adenosine. It’s a signal that one needs sleep. This chemical builds up all day and the strongest drive to sleep occurs at the end of the day, mostly in the evening. At the highest peak of this chemical build up, sleep will just take over, regardless of what one may be doing either watching TV or reading a book.

Fatigue, exhaustion, tiredness or low energy is the contrast of sleepiness. They make one feels like one has to drag oneself through the day, feels heavy and worn out like one just ran a marathon. This may occur in the setting of other illness, such as anaemia, hypothyroidism, or even cancer. It may even be labelled as chronic fatigue syndrome. The thing is, no matter how fatigue one is, it may not result to sleep.

“People who feel fatigued may lie down to rest or take a nap. However, they often don’t fall asleep (though people with extreme sleepiness or drowsiness will be able to sleep if given the opportunity). Moreover, this sense of fatigue may not even be relieved by sleep” – WebMD

The benefits of sleep can never be overrated. Lack of sleep can devastate one’s entire body system making him or her prone to breakdowns and illnesses. These can be curbed if only there can be regular good night sleep; the kind that gets one in high spirits ready to face the day’s tasks without stress and gives one the ability to work, learn, create, and communicate.  

However, there are some people who have trained themselves to get by on less sleep. Others decide to go hard on themselves and catch up on sleep at the weekend. But these bad habits can take a severe toll on one’s mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. Over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on one’s mental and physical health.

We all get tired during the day, what we do after work to relax and recoup our energy is also very important. There’s no need compromising one’s sleep no matter the situation, one has to get some good shut-eye time and make it an absolute routine.

What makes you tired during the day?

Various activities may contribute to one feeling tired during the day. One may probably have an illness that is sapping one’s energy or one may be depressed. One may be working in a confining sedentary job with deadline pressures and emotionally draining situations and more.

Unfortunately, one is not likely to feel well rested when one gets out of bed in the morning and as such may actually drag out of the bed or snooze the alarm several times before fully waking up and that alone adds to more stress.

How much rest one needs?

People need different kinds of rest or relaxing night’s sleep. New-born babies need 14 to 17 hours, children and teens need 9 to 12 hours. Adults vary widely in their requirements, but most do best on 7 to 8 hours per night. People who are fatigued may lie down to rest or take a nap as well. But the bottom line is many people are not getting the sleep they need.

Taking a rest allows the body to renew itself, aids in the healing of injuries, infections and other assaults on the body, strengthens the immune system by helping protect the body from diseases and so many other benefits.

Proper rest can add length to your life. In a large population study of health habits a few years ago, it was found that people who regularly slept seven to eight hours each night had lower death rates than those who do not.

Sleep deprivation and disorders

One may be sleep deprived if:

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

According to Very Well Health; sleepiness often occurs in sleep deprivation among those who get inadequate total sleep time. It may also be a symptom of sleep disorders; such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy. In contrast, fatigue is a common complaint among those with insomnia.

Some medication may help one to sleep. In emergencies, sleep medications may be helpful but will contribute to chronic fatigue if used over and over. People who depend on the drugs and/or alcohol may not feel refreshed and energetic the next day as a result.

Side effects of sleep medication

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
  • Moodiness and irritability; increased risk of depression
  • Decreased sex drive; relationship problems
  • Impaired brain activity; learning, concentration, and memory problems
  • Reduced creativity and problem-solving skills; difficulty making decisions
  • Inability to cope with stress, difficulty managing emotions
  • Premature skin aging
  • Weakened immune system; frequent colds and infections; weight gain
  • Impaired motor skills and increased risk of accidents; hallucinations and delirium
  • Increased risk of serious health problems including stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers

How to sleep better?

Get a sleep routine

It’s very important to schedule one’s sleep time and make sure no activity is done at that time but to sleep. Put the mobile phone away and turn of notifications as well, because any ping from the phone can be distracting. The only notification that should distract is the alarm ringing.  Earmark a period for sleep, for example, 8pm to 5am. This must be a strict routine at least for a month.

Have a cup of herbal tea

Herbal tea or green tea is said to have a soothing effect on the sleep of a person. One can preferably go for a hot chocolate drink too. This will get one relived and relaxed enough to fall asleep but must not be made a habit.

Workout regularly

Daily engage in 30 to 60 minutes of active exercise. Exercising helps lower mental stress and fatigue. Once one is mentally de-stressed, getting a good night sleep won’t appear difficult. If dancing is a hobby, it can be engaged to keep the body fit like a fiddle.

Reduce thinking at bedtime

Try not to bother self with uncertainties, no one can really predict the future so why bother self with too much thinking. Overthinking makes one’s mind to go wild and imaginations set in; this only prevents one from falling asleep. Instead, we must count our blessings, fill our minds with gratitude and thanksgiving. A clear conscience and a grateful mind are the pillows to sleep on.

Eat healthy

Eat healthy wholesome meals that are balanced diets and will keep the body full and prevent one from nibbling on food just before bedtime. Challenge self to eat at least 4 hours before bedtime. Do not eat too much food as it can cause uneasiness to the body.

Avoid sleep stealing foods such as caffeine, alcohol and anything that causes sleep deprivation.

Breaks during the day

Take frequent breaks during the workday. Walk around, get a drink of water, take some deep breaths.

After trying these and still have some hitches in sleeping, please do consult the doctor. He or she will suggest ways to address the situation and might suggest some cognitive exercise or medicines that will keep the mind calm and composed.

To stay healthy always; give due priority to sleep. Do not deprive the body of special sleep time. Stick to sleep schedules and the body will realise a good rest and be focused during the day; no stress!

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